Indians fall before first league win

Senior Mike Mundy puts another 2 points on the board for Shelter Island. He scored a team-high 16, but it wasn’t enough to beat Carle Place on Saturday.

Fans leaving the gymnasium Saturday after the varsity Indians’55-41 defeat, the third tough loss in a row, were heard commenting,”That was a pretty good game.” After all, Carle Place normallyplays in a more competitive league, and Shelter Island kept thescore fairly close. But Coach Mike Mundy clearly wasn’t satisfied:”We’re not accepting a “‹”good’ game, we know we cando better than this.”

They proved him right in their next game, Tuesday’s leagueopener, when they toppled Pierson 40-31. It was for the most part a2-point game until the very last minute when the Indians pulledaway and snagged the victory. A full summary of Tuesday’snail-biter will appear in the Reporter’s next issue.

Just over two minutes into Saturday’s game, Carle Place was up6-0 and it was looking like the game could be a repeat of lastweek’s 61-26 loss to East Rockaway. But point guard Mike Mundy wasable to get the team on track with three quick breakaways andlayups in a row, followed immediately by another 2 points fromJames Cogan. Carle Place called a timeout with 3:17 left in thequarter to try to halt Shelter Island’s momentum.

It worked, for a bit, and Carle Place scored 6 unansweredpoints, giving them a 12-6 lead. Connor Needham stopped the scoringspree when he drew a foul and made both of his free throws. Thenthe Indians got the ball back and set up Doug Binder to make apowerful drive through traffic to the net, where he scored withmere seconds left on the clock, ending the first quarter with atied game, 12-12.

Mundy started the second quarter off with a fast break yieldingan easy layup, taking what would be the Indians’ last lead of thegame (14-12). He went on to score 9 of his team-high 16 points thatquarter. Nonetheless Carle Place pulled away, putting 22 on theboard while the Indians only added 12.

The third quarter began 34-24 Carle Place, and remainedscoreless for just over two minutes until Andrew BeltCappellinostole the ball and dribbled it back for an easy layup. On theIndians’ very next possession, Binder grabbed a rebound (one of histeam-high 6 rebounds) and put it through the hoop, all withouttouching the floor. The crowd went wild and the score jumped to34-28.

Two fourth-quarter fast breaks in a row yielded opportunitiesfor Phil McEnroe and then Kyle Johnson to feed Binder crisp bouncepasses for 4 easy points. On the very next play, Johnson chaseddown Carle Place’s number 21 and crushed his layup attempt, sendingthe Island bleachers into a frenzy. They quieted down, though, whenhe made one of the two resulting free throws.

Coach Mundy was proud of the performances of some of the team’sreserves: “Doug Binder played a great game, “¦ Kylestepped up off the bench “¦ James Michael Cogan, heprobably had two minutes of playing time prior to today, he steppedup and just did a great job. John McEnroe, he hasn’t had a total oftwo minutes, and he comes off the bench and gives me six solidminutes. And any of them can do that, which is huge.

“That’s the beauty of this team,” he added, “I’ve got a deep,deep squad.”

He described the team’s large size as a “pleasant dilemma.” Itsdepth provides a lot of skill both on the bench and on the court,but cuts down on everyone’s playing time: “Unfortunately, everyonedoes deserve more than what I’m giving them, we’re trying to cyclethrough people as much as we can “¦ it’s tough.”

Turnovers continue to be a problem, and the boys’ foul shotpercentage needs improvement, too. “In the fourth quarter, we weredown by 7 with two minutes left, and I bet you we had missed 10foul shots to that point,” said Mundy, adding, “That’sunacceptable.” By the end of the game, Carle Place had scored 13from the free throw line, while Shelter Island sank just 7 of their15 free throw attempts.

But the team as a whole has clearly improved since their firstgame. “We’re getting closer,” said Coach Mike Mundy, “but we’re notthere yet.” And the boys are eager to improve. Mundy wasconsidering giving them a break from practice on Sunday, but theyrefused: “They said, “‹”no, no, we need it, we needthe time.’ They’re willing to sacrifice – great work ethic.”